JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) A wildfire marched toward upscale subdivisions outside the trendy mountain resort of Jackson Wednesday, forcing hundreds of residents to flee.
People in about 200 homes were ordered to evacuate as the wildfire approached within a half-mile of one home.
Fire spokesman Tom Ninnemann said by late afternoonthat no homes had caught fire.
Air tankers were bombing entire neighborhoods with tons of fire retardant as a preventive measure, Ninnemann said.
The homes, the properties, the bushes, the whole works, he said.
Susan Bersticker, a nurse who works in Jackson, was prevented from getting to her home in the evacuation zone, which included most homes in a 10-mile stretch along the west side of the southward flowing Snake River.
I had everything ready for evacuation, and now I cant go get it, Bersticker said. I did get my checkbook and important papers out early, but I cant go get Gus, my gecko.
The fire, about five miles southwest of Jackson, was being pushed by winds gusting to more than 30 mph. The resort town, with the Snake River between it and the fire, as well as Grand Teton National Park to the north, were not in danger from the fire, authorities said.
The Forest Service has marshaled 615 firefighters, 68 engines, nine helicopters, seven air tankers and a team of elite fire managers to fight the blaze.
|Associated Press photo|
|winds whip fire through the trees near the resort town of Jackson.|
Its making a strong run to the north-northeast, said spokesman Tim Sexton. He said the tanker planes were bombing the fires edge with up to 3,000 gallons of chemical retardant each, with flights coming in every few minutes.
He said search and rescue personnel were going door to door through the exclusive subdivisions, warning people to leave. A temporary shelter for evacuees was opened by the Red Cross at the Jackson Hole High School. No evacuees had shown up at the shelter by late afternoon.
Residents of nearby homes, valued from $500,000 on up, had been on alert since Sunday and had stuffed pickups, cars and sport utility vehicles with valued possessions.
The homes threatened include one owned by trial attorney Gerry Spence, famous for his victory over nuclear giant Kerr-McGee Corp. in the Karen Silkwood whistleblower case. It was not immediately known if his home was among those evacuated.
Others with houses in the Jackson Hole area are Vice President Dick Cheney, film stars Harrison Ford, Sandra Bullock and Heather Thomas and World Bank President James Wolfensohn. However, their homes are not in the immediate fire area.
Residents earlier had been warned they might have just 15 minutes to evacuate.
Get the stuff that you really need, fire incident commander Joe Carvelho advised more than 200 people packed into a tiny school auditorium Tuesday night.
The fire has burned nearly 1,400 acres since it began Sunday. It was only 10 percent contained Wednesday. Carvelho told the homeowners the fire could go any direction and there was no rain in the forecast.
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